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Analysis and visualization of predicate dependence on formal parameters and global variables

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2 Author(s)
D. Binkley ; Loyola Coll., Baltimore, MD, USA ; M. Harman

Empirical data concerning the qualitative and quantitative nature of program dependence is presented for a set of 20 programs ranging from 600 lines of code to 167,000 lines of code. The sources of dependence considered are global variables and formal parameters and the targets considered are a program's predicate nodes. The results show that as the number of formal parameters available to a predicate increases, there is a decrease in the proportion of these formal parameters which are depended upon by the predicate. No such correlation was found for global variables. Results from theoretical and actual computation time analysis indicate that the computation of dependence information is practical, suggesting that the analysis may be beneficial to several application areas. The paper also presents results concerning correlations that provide strong evidence that the global and formal dependence sources are independent of one another and that the numbers of globals and formals are independent of the size of the procedure that contains them. Finally, two visualization techniques for displaying dependence information are introduced. Illustrations show how these visualizations and predicate dependence analysis can assist in activities such as testing, comprehension, and evolution.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering  (Volume:30 ,  Issue: 11 )